'Miracle of Medinah' heads the top 10 golf moments of 2012
The 2012 golf season may well be remembered as 'the year of the comeback' as Tiger Woods continued his renaissance with three tournament wins but when reviewing the year we can surely only start at one place.... Medinah.
1. 'The Miracle of Medinah'
Things were looking bleak for Europe after the opening two days of their Ryder Cup battle with USA as they found themselves 10-6 down heading into Sunday's singles. Recriminations over the selections of European captain Seve Ballesteros were beginning but Ian Poulter singlehandedly dragged Europe back into it on the Saturday night and he set up an enthralling final day. Justin Rose holed a 35-foot putt on the 17th against Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer put a dire season behind him to beat Steve Stricker and epitomise the 'Spirit of Seve' as Europe produced a remarkable comeback.
2. Tiger Woods wins Arnold Palmer Invitational
The former world number one had endured a couple of years to forget as his personal life and its apparent problems took centre stage. Woods had taken his eye off the ball literally but he was back to somewhere near his best in 2012 as he won the Arnold Palmer to land his first PGA Tour title since September 2009 which proved the springboard for two further tournament wins. What price a major title in 2013?
3. Ernie Els wins the Open Championship
Els was seen as being well past his best going into the 2012 season but he ended it a major winner and what a win it was. 'The Big Easy' hadn't won a major for over 10 years and he was viewed as something of an 'also ran' but he snatched victory from Adam Scott at Royal Lytham. Els holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th and it proved to be enough for victory as Scott bogeyed his last four holes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
4. Bubba Watson wins US Masters
There can have been few more popular winners of the US Mastersthan Bubba Watson at Augusta. Watson had been taken to a play-off by Louis Oosthuizen and his dream could have been over but for a remarkable shot at the 10th in the play-off. Watson had driven into the trees but he produced a remarkable 'banana' shot which allowed him to then putt for victory.
5. Louis Oosthuizen's albatross at US Masters
The former British Open winner, Louis Oosthuizen, enjoyed a fine 2012 campaign that eventually came up just short in Grand Slam events. A stunning albatross at the second hole at Augusta served notice of his US Masers intentions as he became only the fourth player to land an albatross in the tournament's history, although he eventually had to settle for second place as he lost out to Watson in the play-off.
6. Webb Simpson wins US Open
Winning one of the four majors will always rank as one of the highlights of the year and Webb Simpson produced a gutsy effort to win the US Open. Simpson parred his final eight holes for an overall scored of 281 and his one over par effort proved to be enough as he beat Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson by a single shot.
7. Rory McIlroy wins USPGA Championship
Rory McIlroy has elevated himself to the very pinnacle of golf during the past 18 months and after his US Masters meltdown of 2011 he came back to win the US Open the same year. McIlroy was at it again in 2012 as he romped to a second major win with an eight-shot victory at the USPGA in San Francisco.
8. Rory McIlroy wins Dubai World Championship
The Northern Irishman rounded off the year with a hugely impressive win in the season-ending Dubai World Championship. McIlroy had already secured top spot in the Race To Dubai and PGA Tour money lists but he wasn't done there as he birdeyed his final five holes to beat Justin Rose by two shots.
9. Charl Schwartzel wins Thailand Golf Championship
The South African had to wait 20 months between his 2011 Masters victory and his next tournament win but it was well worth the wait in the end. Schwartzel demolished a strong field with rounds of 65 68, 65, 65 in Thailand to win by 11 shots and he went on to win the Alfred Dunhill Championships in his homeland a few weeks later.
10. Branden Grace wins Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Another South African caught the eye with his performances during 2012 as Branden Grace enjoyed a breakthrough year. Grace started the year with victory in the Joburg Open before winning the Volvo Golf Champions a week later. He went on to win the China Open before landing the Alfred Dunhill Links by two shots from Thorbjorn Olesen.
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